3 years ago I met George.
I had been on my version of an Eat. Pray. Love adventure for the prior 6 months and was traveling all over the world to “find myself.” I had reached the point of burnout and exhaustion, was experiencing depression and anxiety, and felt completely lost, if I’m being honest. At that time, I couldn’t tell you what I loved to do for fun, besides travel, so I went with what was certain and quit my job to travel the world.
On this journey I decided to spend 6 weeks traveling the beautiful Greek islands, which is where I met George, my taxi driver in Ermoupoli, Greece.
This particular morning, I was feeling a bit quiet versus my bubbly outgoing self. However, George’s warm and genuine nature changed the trajectory of my day.
“Hi, ma’am!” he explained in broken English with an enthusiastic Greek accent as I hopped into his cab.
I smiled back and said hello, planning to sit back and admire the scenery for the 20 minute car ride. He started driving as I sat quietly in the backseat. I kept catching him staring through the rearview mirror at me. We would make contact, he would smile, and I would smile back then quickly turn my gaze back to the view. After this happened a few times, I begrudgingly decided to make conversation.
“Beautiful day today isn’t it?” I asked him.
He responded excitedly, “Oh, gorgeous day ma’am, but every day is here!”
And just like that the conversation took off and before I knew it George had become my new best friend. We started asking each other all sorts of questions and chatting it up, which, if I’m being honest, completely changed the mood I was in.
I learned about his family, he shared a few stories about growing up on the island, and even taught me about the olive oil business he was in. I grew intrigued by his stories and fascinated by his mindset, positivity and outlook on life.
As we got closer to my destination, I asked him what his favorite thing to do on the island was.
He chuckled and responded with a tone like his answer should have been obvious, “To have coffee with good company.”
Wow, I thought. Confirmation that if I lived on the island we would definitely be best friends because that is one of my favorite things to do too! I shared this with him, thanked him for the conversation and complimented him for being such a genuine and welcoming human.
Then without a prompt, he said to me as he pointed to his heart, “If you love what is in here, then everything else is beautiful.”
All thoughts stopped for a minute, and I sat there staring at George. He kept on talking not realizing I had drifted off into space as I reflected on what he had just said. In that moment, I felt an energetic shift in my body. It was like all time had stopped. I couldn’t stop repeating his quote in my head. The lightbulb had gone off, and I knew that day George had been sent by the heavens.
You see, I was once a woman who lacked self-love. I would get into habitual thinking patterns of negativity, judgment, victimhood, sadness, anger, and resentment all because I lacked self-love. I was my own worst critic. I didn’t love what I saw in the mirror. I set ridiculously high expectations for myself and would get mad at myself for not achieving “more.” I would tell myself how dumb I was when I made a mistake and judge my every move. I told myself it was never enough. I was never enough. And I wondered why I wasn’t happier and feeling more fulfilled.
On days I’m being harsh on myself, I notice that my view of the world around me shifts because I treat others the way I treat myself. I’m judgmental towards others, have a pessimistic outlook, blame everything on others instead of taking responsibility, hold others to the same standards I set for myself and I’m not nearly as compassionate as I should be.
“When you love what is in here, then everything else is beautiful.”
My journey abroad taught me that when we love ourselves, it is nearly impossible not to see beauty in everything and everyone. As I grow in self-love, I’m realizing that George’s words have lived true for me. The more I love myself, the more love I pour into the world. The more I love myself, the happier I am (even if it is just sitting in the backseat of a cab) and the more content and peaceful I feel. I’m more motivated to show up as myself in the world, I take bigger risks, I’m more confident, way less stressed, I feel healthier and I’m definitely more satisfied with life.
And as someone who has lived in both worlds, I can say I choose love. Love is the way.
I think we can all agree that the world needs a little more love. So, check in with yourself and see where you’re at today. How are you treating yourself? What is the inner voice inside your head saying? Once you become aware of where you are at, make any mindset shifts that need to happen and then notice if the world around you changes simply by making a few minor tweaks to your thinking patterns.
Today, I encourage you to choose love. Choose to see the beauty. You are worth it and you are enough.